Why Make Plans

I keep making them and I keep changing them so maybe best not to bother. Today I was going to go to the Water Park first thing on a Smew hunt and then go home to lay a few paving slabs and paint a gate. Checking out the bird sites last night I saw that there had been a Velvet Scoter at Farmoor. My only sightings of this bird have been distant flight views at Portland so the chance of closer views at Farmoor made me decide to go  first thing instead of the Water Park. However when I got up this morning I decided to do the work in the garden first and then if the Scoter was still around to go to Farmoor and if not the Water Park. So lunchtime came and with the garden finished and no Scoter reported I headed for the Water Park. It was very windy so I wasn’t sure how it would go. Lake 44 was the first stop and things didn’t look so good as there were not that many birds on the water. 29 was next where Bob Philpott arrived just as I was leaving the car. We checked Lake 30 and found a single redhead Goosander along with Tufted, Pochard, and Great-crested Grebes. Conditions weren’t great for birding with the strong wind making holding optics still quite an effort. Scanning the ducks on 29 a raptor flew across my view. I followed it and realised that it was a Merlin. A good sighting. Plenty of ducks on here but no Smew. Leaving Bob I headed on to Lake 43. Very challenging here as it was straight into the wind. Male Goldeneye was the first different bird picked out followed by five Teal and a smart Redhead Smew. Always good to see but unfortunately 43 is in Gloucestershire so still needed for a Wilts tick this year. Unsurprisingly not many small birds to be seen but three separate sightings of Bullfinch were good. Going back past Lake 30 there were now two Goosanders and a few Fieldfare were in the Hedgerow. Final stop was a quick look for the Bewick Swans in the meadows from the Cricklade slip road.  No Swans at all were seen which was the same result as Martin had when he visited today. http://swindonbirder.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/windy-day.html

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